MINNEAPOLIS — The Yankees’ bullpen could be whole again soon.
Aaron Boone said injured closer Aroldis Chapman threw a side session Wednesday in Tampa and could be activated “hopefully sometime next week.”
“Everything went really well,” Boone said late Wednesday afternoon. “Hoping he’ll throw another side this weekend, and then possibly a sim game right after that.”
Chapman has been on the DL since Aug. 22 with left knee tendinitis, a condition the lefty has pitched with most of the season. Though the Yankees bullpen has done well for the most part without Chapman, who is 31-for-33 in save chances with a 2.11 ERA, his return will be a welcome one.
“When you add another guy of Chapman’s capabilities to an already strong group,” Boone said, “it just allows you to, in some cases, shorten the game even more.”
Brett Gardner sat a second straight day — replaced in left by Giancarlo Stanton — after banging up his right knee making a diving catch that saved a run at the end of the second inning Monday.
“I think he’ll be available today, he had some pretty good swelling in there yesterday from that [catch],” Boone said. “Doing a lot better today. A lot of that swelling’s out of there. Hoping he’s an option for us tonight but especially hoping he should be good to go by Friday.”
The Yankees are off Thursday, then start a three-game series with the Blue Jays at the Stadium.
Judge still hitting
Aaron Judge, who took early BP on the field Monday and Tuesday, hit during regular BP with the rest of the team before Wednesday’s game, another positive sign for the rightfielder.
Stanton came into Wednesday in an 8-for-68 skid, with 30 strikeouts in the stretch.
“Giancarlo’s had, throughout his career, those times where when he gets hot he’s the best player in the league,” Boone said. “There’s those times he hits those bumps in the road, too. We just have to try and ride those out and hopefully get him into a good place heading into these final few weeks and on into October.”